View Full Version : Untitled Story v2 (Mild violence, mild language)

March 28th, 2013, 03:59 AM
A young man was floating in a riverbank within the forest bordering the village of Asere. He awoke to a sharp pain in his lungs as he breathed in the water again and again. Panicked, he threw his head out of the water and floundered across the river to the bank, where he lay on the ground coughing up the water. When it seemed he would be alright, he took a moment to look at his surroundings, and was startled to realize he had no idea where he was.

He tried to think back to a point before he awoke, but there was nothing but a vast blankness that caused his head to ache. There were only two things he did know: the first was his name, but thinking of it led to nothing else, and remembering was his main goal at the moment. The second was a deep, nagging anxiety that was urging him to move forward, but this too lacked any sort of foundation in his mind. He struggled to his feet and almost tumbled back into the river.

He stared into the water for a moment, his reflection a silhouette against the light of the noon sun. His head beat more furiously now, and that anxious feeling seemed to grow with each throb. With an audible groan he tried once again to get to his feet, but stopped short. He could hear rustling coming from the brush behind him- close, and getting closer. His body reacted before his mind could question it, and he scrambled across the bank into the bushes. From where he was hiding he could see two large figures shambling through the bushes towards the bank, followed by a third, slimmer one. He moved slowly through his hiding spot and found an opening to get a better view of what was happening.

The two figures emerged from the brush and stood at the riverbank. They were creatures of earth and stone, it seemed, and they lacked any sort of features save for two glowing sockets. They looked back and forth along the river for a moment, before the third figure appeared and joined them. This one was human, but his piercing gaze and bloodied robe told the young man that he was far from friendly. He passed his left hand through his hair, mixing red with gold into a crude bronze color, and his right hand gripped a sword, still dripping blood from whatever he had slaughtered.

"Why have you brought me here?" the man asked.

The creatures seemed to start at the sound of his voice, and one turned to him. It seemed to speak, but all the young man could hear was a sort of inhaled series of growls. It seemed the man could understand them just fine, as he walked between them and looked in the river as well.

"Do you think it was one of the villagers?"

The creature growled in affirmation, and he said, "Continue looking, then. We mustn't let a single one escape." The man looked on while the creatures moved down the bank. While the creatures trundled along by the water, the man surveyed the ground close to him. He was muttering something, but from where the young man was hiding he couldn't hear much. As he moved closer though, he managed to catch the last part of what he was saying.

"They will tell me where the Insel are hiding if I have to-" he said, stopping. He seemed to spot something, his eyes squinting as he put one knee on the ground and studied it. He stayed like that for a moment, then got up and called to his followers.

"Something was here, and it hasn't gone far," he said.

He looked at the path once more, seeming to trace the young man's scramble for safety right to him. For one brief moment their eyes were locked, and he could feel his heart hammer with fear. He looked again at the sword. Aside from the blood currently staining into the steel the weapon was pristine. There appeared to be something etched into the blade, writing of some sort, but he was too far away to read it. He wondered if the sword was sharp, wondered how much it would hurt if he were cut by it. He wanted to run but his legs were paralyzed. He could only watch as the man walked closer and closer to where he was sitting, unable to run, move, or even breathe.

Just then, an animal darted out from the bushes next to him, and briefly splashed along the river before fleeing back into the forest. From where the animal hit the water, a bright blue glow shone up briefly, then vanished. The man had stopped, his eyes wild, a wide grin splitting his face. He was no longer looking at the bushes, but at the disturbed water.

"There you are," he said, and started towards the river's edge. The two creatures stomped behind him, and together they passed the young man, who could hear the sword being dragged along the loose rocks and ground. The sound echoed in his head as he realized how close he was to being found, and his paralysis broke. He turned around and scrambled through the brush into the forest, not caring if they heard him. He thought that as long as he could get a moment's head start-- just a moment-- he'd be safe.

He tore through the forest in a random direction, anywhere that would take him farther away from that monster. Behind him, barely audible, he heard the man shout "Go after them!" to his two creatures. A moment later he could hear their trudging stomps as they followed his trail. He stumbled over roots and nicked himself on branches, feeling the wind brush against his wet clothes. The sun glinted through holes in the trees, lighting his way as he rushed forward. The stomping sounds lessened as he ran, and he thought he was going to get away. In a momentary lapse of concentration he tripped on something heavy and crashed to the ground. His breathing finally caught up to him and he took in air in quick, ragged sips. He turned around to see what it was he had tripped over, and would have screamed in horror if his lungs had had air in them. It was a body. It was leaning slightly on its side from the kick, eyes wide open in pain and surprise, with blood flowing from his mouth. The young man could clearly see the thin opening in his chest that spelled his death, and of course the size was perfect for the sword that crazy man had been carrying.

The young man sat transfixed on the body, his own shivering and shaking from cold and exhaustion. He managed to tear his eyes away for a moment, long enough to see the other bodies lying nearby. He counted ten in his immediate vision, and had to stop. He could feel himself about to throw up, and willed it back down by closing his eyes. He wondered how one man could do so much damage, and why. Did they fight back? Did they even try? He couldn't find an answer to anything, it seemed, and somewhere amidst the chaos of his mind he was still trying to figure out who he was. He wondered for a moment if he had been one of these people, and if he had fled but somehow got hurt and lost his memory.

Deep in his thoughts and in shock, he had tuned out the stomping of the creatures, which had been far behind before he tripped. It wasn't until the ground shook that he snapped out of it and saw one of them grab for him. He managed a scream and used his legs as a piston to push himself just out of grasp. He saw the body of man get flung off to the side and let out a half-crazed bark of laughter before he realized he was still on the ground. He turned and pushed against the ground again, starting into a run with the creatures right on his tail.

They seemed much more agile to him than before as they kept his pace. Twice the one in front made a grab at him, but he twisted off to the side and kept running. He could hear his breath wheezing out of him, each inhale causing a sharp pain in his side, along with the thuds of the creatures' feet on the ground. There was a third sound-- one he didn't recognize, but was drawing closer to. It was a low whooshing sound, but as he drew closer and closer the sound rose to a roar. He looked back to see the front creature trying to grab at him again, but he once again managed to squirm away from his grip. By now the sound was deafening, blanketing the others he had been hearing. He turned back around just in time to see that he was coming close to the edge of a cliff. Off to his right was a raging waterfall, pouring down to a basin below. By instinct he stuck his hand out, which met with a tree trunk close to the edge. He gripped the tree hard and swung around into an embrace, looking back to see the two creatures plunge headlong off the cliff and into the basin. He could hear their impact with the water over the roar of the falls, and saw the water jump high into the air before splashing back home, sending ripples all across its face. From the water rose two thick, black tendrils of smoke, which went higher and higher into the air before thinning out and then dissipating. Exhausted, gasping for air and filthy all over in sweat, dirt, grass and blood, the young man wept out of a sense of victory. Through all of that running he had somehow managed a backwards "c" shape to the end of the river. Still trying to catch his breath, he looked down again at the water to confirm that the creatures were really dead.

"Hello, boy."

He whirled around and found himself face to face with the man from the river. He was still covered in blood from head to toe, but if he had been following close behind the creatures there was no sign of it. He stared at the young man, not even breathing hard, brown eyes piercing into him. His look was as it was before: that cold, blank look that had made him so nervous. The young man stood perfectly still, again unable to move or speak in such a frightening presence.

"You have made me very angry," he said, his voice a dull monotone. "You let the Insel escape from me, after I had spent so long searching for them. You don't even know what you've done-- look at you. Scared stiff like a wounded deer caught in the sight of a hunter's bow. But no matter. You and your damned village merely set my plans back a little. I can find another tribe of Insel and get what I want from them."

He stepped closer and put a hand on the young man's shoulder, leaning in close to make himself heard over the falls.

"And as for you. I promised to kill you all if I did not get the information I required, and I never fail to deliver on my promises."

A sharp, sudden pain in his gut, and then nothing. He looked down to see the sword more than halfway gone, and his shirt slowly staining red. Then a starburst of pain caused all feeling to vacate him, and he coughed up a clot onto the man's shoulder.

"Go join them in the Ara, and let your presence fill them with despair," he said.

As the man tried to pull the sword out, the young man stepped back and used the last of his energy to pull his arm away. With the sword still stuck in his stomach he fell off of the cliff. His last sight was of the man staring down at him with twisted rage on his face. That look caused him to smile, and his mind fell into darkness.

April 2nd, 2013, 12:27 AM
I really enjoyed that. It was well paced and exciting. It made me want to keep reading and the only disappointment was that it ended. My only critique would be that I would throw in a few more details at the start and really get immersed into the world and emotion with your character.

April 2nd, 2013, 02:43 AM
This story clearly has high fantasy aspirations, but this particular passage is more low fantasy. Don't misconstrue, this isn't a bad thing. But giving the world detail through narration does not fit with the low fantasy tone of this passage.

For example, the name of the village is introduced through narration, while the name Isren is introduced through dialogue. The name of the village is immaterial to the passage. However, the word Isren is clearly important. Overall it was very well written, and I would be interested in continuing the story.

The best advice I could give you is not to give into the temptation to go into the minutiae of the world. As I mentioned, the name of the village is not important to the passage, and can absolutely be removed. On the other end of the spectrum, the man's motives, the significance of Isren, and even the origin of the monsters that chased the protagonist are not explained. All heightening my interest in the story.